Some Things Are Different in France: Flu Shots

On an earlier trip to the local pharmacy, we had seen a sign saying flu vaccines were available. When we inquired, however, they said they wouldn’t be there until 15 October. When we returned on Saturday, they had the vaccines in stock.

We’ve gotten many flu shots over the years, both in a long cattle-like line in the cafeteria at work and at the pharmacy. In the cafeteria they just have you roll up your sleeve and then give you the injection (after signing paperwork acknowledging the risks, of course). At the pharmacy, they take you into a little private room and do the same.

So imagine our surprise when we asked for flu shots and the pharmacist said we had to keep them refrigerated if we didn’t use them right away! Hunh? Yes indeed, for just over €21, we walked out of the pharmacy with two pre-loaded vaccines in an insulated bag.

We got them home and inspected them…

But what exactly do we do with them? The instructions say to take it to your doctor to receive the injection. We, of course, don’t have a doctor…in France.

But really, how hard can it be? Having had two diabetic cats, J has given many an insulin injection, so the shots didn’t seem too intimidating. And the internet gives very detailed instructions on how to give a flu shot… except for that one little detail of how far you’re supposed to stick the needle in. After a text consultation with one of the many nurses in the family, we had our answer – about half an inch.

So on Sunday, after lunch, we gave each other the shots! (It was a truly tiny needle – neither of us felt it going in.) All right, what’s next – sucking chest wounds? M says that’s why you should always have duct tape…

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